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Critical Reflection Essay

Planning to facilitate learning in a clinical setting can be very challenging, having to cope with your busy workload and facilitating at the same time. Throughout this essay I will apply Gibbs (1988) to reflect, on the learning I have had undertaking this module (U44124), my teaching session planned and observed, to comment on the feedback I received from my learners and observer, also how this module has helped me overall.

I had undertaken the introduction to mentoring, by attending unit 1 mentor preparation programme in 2006. After attending that one day course, I expressed an interest in doing this module, because, I realised that this form of mentoring of students here in the UK is quite different from what I was accustom to back in my country (Guyana) . The learning style here is also very different, for instance in my country students are allocated to the clinical areas with objectives to practice specific skills, after practicing them first in the classroom. Here in the UK, what I observed, are students do not only come with specific objectives, but with a verity of competencies to achieved, as such, have to have a mentor allocated to them. Before commencing this module, I was unsure how to write a reflective essay. I had no idea of what my learning style was, I never gave much thought to reflection in practice, plus I had never written a teaching plan before.

After attending the first two session of this module, I realised I was lacking the skill of reflection in my practice. According to Bulman & Schutz (2004) for one to reflect on past experiences , one has to develop the skill of self awareness, description, critical analysis, syntheses, judgement, and evaluation. I was not certain I understood what critical analysis meant, however during our session of group work, listening to my colleagues ideas and experiences, also our lecturer, I began to get a clear picture of what the term meant. When I returned to work, I began the experimentation of applying critical analysis to my daily practice.

For instance, I observed my learners with keen interest of identifying his or her flaws, give constructive feedback which provide for improvement. For example , saying to my learner we need to work on the accepted way of doing systematic documentation. As well as, identifying my flaws in practice and working toward improvement, such as asking myself what I should have done and what I could do better next time.

During my professional nurse training commencing in 1996, I was a student who generally liked to read up on thing first, and found it tricky to do things I did not understood. Doing this module made me realized my learning preference was that of read/write as described by Fleming (2007). The learning style questionnaire given to me by our lecturer, highlighted that I am a reflector. In retrospect to my student days, I remember always taking a back seat and listening to my colleagues before I make a point or answer questions, and constantly giving past and present examples of situation, to emphasize what I meant. With the help of this module, I recognized my reason for being that way, I was lacking the experience of expressing my thoughts verbally.

Although, I do reflect on my personal life, I never give much thought to reflecting on my practice. According to Taylor (2000) pg2 “ knowing how to reflect is a process for making sense out of life experiences”. This module taught me how to reflect on my professional practice, for example, at the end of my shift I reviewed what I had undertaken on that day, asked myself was my practice done according to my professional guidelines? NMC code of professional conduct (2002), did I use my judgement in giving care to my patients? Do I need to improve on aspect of my practice? Was I able to identify my flaws? In answering these questions I utilised the SMART criteria, setting myself goals and objectives, and plan interventions for my future professional development.

After attending the third session of this module, I was able to compare different models of reflection. I found Gibbs (1988) very straightforward, it assisted me with organising my thoughts in a coherent manner, hence, helping me to plan my learning development as well as my learners. I also found utilising Gibbs (1988) made it easier for me to encourage my learners to reflect on their past placements. The Atkins & Murphy (1994) in my opinion emphasized a more detailed and complex cycle. I found it to be very time consuming and because of my heavy workload in daily practice it difficult for me to adopt. According to Bulman & Schutz (2000) for me to offer a balanced of support and challenge to my learner I must have experience in reflective practice. While I am developing this skill aided by Gibbs cycle, I am at the same time offering my learners the opportunity to reflect on their practice using this cycle.

After qualifying I had the opportunity to mentor students and junior colleagues, because as a qualified nurse in my country I was expected to undertaken this role. It was not the usual practice to write a lesion plan, I had to mentor student according to their objectives. To illustrate this, a final year nurse student would be assigned to the recovery room, and her objectives would be to manage a shift under supervision. As her mentor I ensured she undertook this skill with my guidance. Attending this module has taught me how to write a lesion plan with the guidance of the SMART criteria according to Mentoring (2005). These criteria helped me plan my teaching session to meet my learners learning needs at her specific level (1st year ODP student).

Undertaking this module made me give some serious thoughts to my professional body requirements of the role of a facilitator of learning. According to the NMC standard (2006) after successfully completing an NMC approved mentor preparation programme, or a comparable programme (accredited by an AEI as meeting the NMC requirement). I understand I would be responsible and accountable for “organising and coordinating student learning activities in practice, assessing total performance including skills, attitude and behaviour”, pg17. With the acquired knowledge from this course, I am preparing to meet this challenge. Another method I adopted is Swanwick (1994) non-participant observation method cited in the module reader(2007/2008) where he explained that observing your learner caring for a patient, while you are performing another activity such as attending to another patient. This method of assessment give me the opportunity to indentified good and not so good practice of my learner enabling me to offer critical as well as constructive feedback.

Reflecting on my planned teaching session, I adopted the Peyton (1998) four stage model, because this model best suited my learner’s level, which we both agreed upon. In my initial assessment of my learners we established a professional relationship, whereby, we discussed timing of her placement ( not being late for practice), dress code (jewellery not recommended), breaks (timing), and explaining to her all of this would contribute to her developing professionally. Following that, I established a baseline of her knowledge and skills level, which was she possessed basic knowledge and skills at her level (1st year ODP student), this we both agreed upon. I also give her a copy of the learning style questionnaire by Honey & Mumford (1986) to complete. On completion of the questionnaire we both realized that she was a theorist, which was different from my learning style (read/write).

If I had not done this module I may have found it difficult to adjust to her learning style, however, because I read about the different theories I understood how to adjust to her learning style to meet her learning needs.

There are some similarities with Study et al (1994) and Peyton (1998) models of teaching. Both involve demonstration which I found suited my learners needs, these models allowed for demonstration of skills by teacher and learner, added to that, they provide for visual observations. For my teaching session, I choose a topic relevant to my place of work, as well as for my learner, it was included in her objectives. I did a short lecture with direct questioning , since this method give my learner and the group ( senior nurses from my department), the opportunity to listen, participate with discussion and ask questions. I applied demonstration as an activity to make the lesion interesting, as well as giving the every one present the opportunity to see and practice the skill correctly. According to Quinn (1995) “demonstration is a visualised explanation of facts, concepts, and procedure designed to show the learner why things happen”.

I discussed and demonstrated slowly and clearly to my learner/group, how to safely and accurately applied oxygen delivery devices (face mask, nasal canola, tracheotomy mask, mask with reservoir bag, non re-breather mask) to patients admitted to recovery room. For this demonstration I outlined patient scenarios and involved my learner/group. Quinn (2000) explained that skills should be taught slowly in correct sequence and there should be no variation in techniques. Referring to the hospital policy for the application of oxygen delivery devices, I employed direct questioning as a learning method for my learner/group as they participated in the demonstration of the skill taught. AS I observed my learner/group performing the skill ,I assessed for confidence for example, Skill being done without displaying nervousness, correctness such as, the nasal canula applied in the right way, knowledge for example, explanation as the skill is being practice, judgement such as, the amount of oxygen that can be administered, and professionalism such as, perfection in doing the skill.

At the end of the session, I revisited the learning outcomes to evaluate the teaching session, ensuring my learner/group was able to: 1. Discuss the local hospital policy about the use of oxygen delivery devices on patients in the recovery room. 2. Identified the six types of oxygen delivery devices used in the recovery room. 3. Demonstrate how to safely and accurately apply the six types of oxygen delivery devices on patient in the recovery room. 4. State the amount of oxygen that can be administered through each type of delivery devices to patients admitted to the recovery room with various oxygen therapy needs. Additionally, I encourage my learner/group to give me verbal feedback by asking questions, such as, name the six types of oxygen delivery devices, and what is the hospital policy for the application of oxygen delivery devices used in the recovery room?

The feedback I received from my observer in my opinion was honest feedback. I agreed with her as she highlighted that I work best with one on one or small groups. I found large group intimidating. After completing the three days session of this module, I began to develop the courage to teach larger groups, for example I would prepare a lesion and gather a few of my colleagues at work and practice different teaching methods. One such is the Studdy et al (1994) where I identified a problem in a patient case scenario and have group discussions, involving a skill and practice sessions. Giving verbal feedback in the end , I found this very helpful because I am beginning to feel comfortable with more persons present at my teaching sessions. One positive feedback from observer, was I worked well with learners.

The reason for this, I applied my theoretical knowledge gained undertaking this module, more with my learners during facilitating and also in my daily practice. I reassured and encourage my learners to approach me at any time on matters of concern she may have. Jarvis & Gibson(1997 said “ for a new entrant to progress through their experiences they required a considerable amount of personal support”. This is one of my action plans for my learners. The feedback I received from my learner/group has given me the opportunity to identified my flaws in teaching, such as, one evaluation highlighted that I should prepare more handouts for my teaching sessions plus I could start my teaching with a small quiz. Another suggested, if I do not know the answer to a question, encourage my learner to do research or both of us incorporate this together. I thought the feedback were constructive feedback, because it help me to think of action plans to improve in those areas.

Overall this module of facilitating and assessing workplace/placement learning has increased my theoretical knowledge of reflection on practice and has definitely prepared to teach, mentor student and junior colleagues. To illustrate this, I constantly observed my learners in practice, evaluating and offering constructive feedback. As I make my observations, I recognized how helpful this module has been to me, because I am slowly developing the skill of critical analysis. When my learner performed a skill, and I spot a flaw in her performance, I am now able to examined my teaching methods, noting perhaps where I shortfall and come up with action plan for improvement. When she performed well I give on the spot feedback such as, saying to her well done and I observed that those statement encourage her enthusiasm and increased her confidence. When I did give critical feedback, I did it tactfully for example, making statement like you are doing good documentation, but we need to work on this some more to ensure you are doing it to the recommended standard. Working through the module workbook(2007/2008)

I was ready to applied different styles of teaching, such as demonstration, incorporated researched involving my learner and I. Applying different method of assessment such as non-participant, visual observation, questioning and listening. As a new practice facilitator there is still room for improvement in my facilitating ability as well as, my reflection skill. I endeavour to give support and practical help to my learners and junior colleagues. I was always ready to give advice, but this module has encouraged me to also give constructive feedback. Applying Hinchliff (1999) when I am assessing a learner for the first time I also find out what the learner knows, then incorporate this knowledge to form the basis of a learning contract. On Conclusion, Gibbs (1988) reflective cycle has helped me tremendously, it is so systematic I applied it to every situation in my daily practice. I am managing to think about my feelings in a situation, evaluate what was good and bad, what I should or could have done better, make action plan using the SMART criteria. I employed it with all my learners, encouraging them to develop the skill of reflection on practice. Personally, I am still working on developing the analysis aspect of the cycle which I know is achievable with constant practice. Knowing my learning style has helped me to understand why I work and learn the way I do, also assisted me to work effectively with my learners.

The evidence of this, everyone has a different learning style and as a new practice facilitator after attending this module, I have a clear understanding of adopting different style of teaching and learning, For example, applying Peyton (1998), Studdy et al (1994), utilising the general strategies and framework for teaching skills, all of which I incorporated to help me developed professionally. Examining the NMC standard of facilitating and assessing placement learning, I am aware of the fact that I would be responsible for assistance of signing off student competencies, as such, I endeavour to keep my knowledge and skills updated. Developing the skill of facilitating workplace learning with the help of attending this course has given me a great deal of satisfaction in helping students and junior colleagues achieved their competencies, thus , making them safe and confident to practice. I hope to become a practice teacher in the future and planning to undertake the module to achieve this. I would be happy to be able to help young intelligent minds achieve their gold and career aspirations. Finally, critical reflection needs to be practice on a daily basis for one to master it. Its not just reflection, one must be able to identify the good, the bad, and the indifference of past experiences and compare plus improve in every aspect. This module has contributed to my professional developments a practitioner. I am no longer unsure about what reflection on practice mean and as such, I am prepared to facilitate and assess placement learning to students, ,junior colleagues and new staff.

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